A good headset can make a big difference when playing games. Whether you like to get immersed in the game with the music or sound effects or if you need to hear every enemy footstep, choosing the right pair of headphones for you can be quite a task. You should look at overall build quality, how comfortable they are, how they sound, and if the microphone sounds good. If you don’t need a microphone, most wired audiophile headphones would be a good option.
We've tested over 710 headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best headsets to buy for gaming. Also, see our recommendations for the best PS4 headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, the best PS5 headsets, and the best Xbox Series X/S headsets.
The best headset for gaming we've tested is the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox. These feature-packed headphones come in either a PlayStation/PC or Xbox/PC variant. However, the Xbox variant is compatible with both consoles, making them a solid choice if you game across platforms. These premium and comfortable over-ears come with a wireless USB transmitter, which puts controls like channel mixing, EQs, and sidetone at your fingertips. Their transmitter also ensures very low latency, which is great for keeping your audio and visuals in sync while gaming. Since these headphones use a dual battery cartridge system, you can store one battery in the transmitter while using the other, delivering roughly 25 hours of continuous playback time each.
Out of the box, they have a somewhat neutral profile with a touch of extra thump and boom to help emphasize sound effects like footsteps in your gameplay. You can fine-tune their sound using the transmitter or their companion software's graphic EQ and presets. If you like to game with others, their detractable boom mic offers very good performance, ensuring that your voice sounds clear and natural, even in moderately noisy environments. Unlike many other gaming headphones on the market, they have active noise canceling (ANC), which can help tackle sounds like the whirl of your computer's fan or ambient chatter. They even support Bluetooth, meaning you can stay connected to your console and smartphone simultaneously.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro is the best gaming headset in the upper mid-range that we've tested. These headphones have a wired design, but like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox, they come with a USB dock that puts controls within easy reach when gaming, like channel mixing, EQ settings, and sidetone. They have a well-built design, a comfortable fit for long gaming sessions, and a boom mic that makes your voice sound clear and natural, even in moderately noisy environments.
Out of the box, they have a fairly neutral sound profile, with a touch of extra boom that can help bring out sound effects like footsteps. Their uneven treble response makes some sounds seem harsh, but you can use the parametric EQ in the headphones' companion software to customize their sound. The USB dock is compatible with PCs and PlayStation consoles and provides low enough latency for gaming. If you're an Xbox gamer or want to ensure a latency-free experience, you can also use them via analog connection with most consoles. On the other hand, if you like wireless headphones, you might prefer the Astro A30 Wireless. They aren't as comfortable but offer a well-balanced sound profile, low latency for gaming, and around 40 hours of continuous battery life.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless are the best headphones for gaming in the mid-range that we've tested. These headphones come in separate variants for Xbox, PlayStation, and PC, so be sure to get the correct variant for your console. They have a worse mic performance than the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro, so they aren't as well-suited to multiplayer games. Still, the mic records your voice clearly. These cheaper headphones also support Bluetooth, so you can listen to music or chat with your phone and hear game audio from a console at the same time. They last for around 30 hours on a single charge and recharge in less than a couple of hours. You also have the option of using them wired with the included cable.
Out of the box, they have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that brings out the thump and punch in music and sound effects. Elements like voices and instruments sound veiled and lack some detail. However, you can use a graphic EQ and presets in the headphones' companion app to adjust their sound to your taste. We tested the 7X variant, which was designed for Xbox but is compatible with PlayStation consoles, with the limitation that any customizations you do in the app won't apply. The other variants are the 7P for PlayStation and the 7 for PC. Keep in mind that the 7 and 7P variants don't support a wireless connection with Xbox, so if you're looking for a versatile headset, the 7X variant is the only one that can connect wirelessly with Xbox as well as PlayStation consoles and PCs.
The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless are the best lower mid-range gaming headphones we've tested. These headphones aren't compatible with Xbox (and don't have any variants that are), but if you're a PlayStation or PC gamer, they come at a lower price point and offer a more comfortable fit for most people. Their 300-plus-hour continuous battery life is extremely long, which you might appreciate if you forget to plug your headphones in to charge. Their boom mic is detachable and has a very good overall performance, so your voice is recorded clearly even in moderately noisy environments.
They connect wirelessly to PCs and PlayStations with a USB dongle and have low latency, so you won't notice audio lag when you're playing. Their default sound profile is slightly v-shaped, so your audio has extra rumble, punch, and boom, and elements like voices sound clear and detailed. They also work with companion software that includes an EQ and presets for sound customization. Unfortunately, some users have reported that applying changes with the Ngenuity software creates very high latency. Otherwise, if you're looking for the best PC gaming headset, this is a great option.
The best gaming headphones at the budget level we've tested are the Logitech G535 LIGHTSPEED Wireless. This headset lacks some of the more premium features of the previous picks, like Bluetooth and an AUX port that gives you the option of using a wired connection. They're also not compatible with Xbox consoles. That said, if you're looking for the best PC gaming headset in the budget range, it comes with a wireless dongle that provides low latency with PCs as well as PlayStation. It lasts for around 35 hours of continuous use, recharges quite quickly in an hour and a half, and you can use it to receive audio while it charges.
Compared to headsets like the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, the default sound profile lacks low-bass, so your audio doesn't have as much thump and rumble. However, a bit of overemphasis in the high-bass range adds warmth and punch that can liven up action-packed games. These headphones create a decently open and natural-seeming passive soundstage, especially for closed-back headphones, which can help make your audio more immersive. Compared to pricier options, though, they aren't ideal if you play a lot of multiplayer games since the boom mic makes your voice sound thin.
The best cheap gaming headset we've tested is the Logitech G432. Unlike our budget pick, which is wireless, wired headphones usually occupy most of the cheap price points. However, if you're looking for the lowest price, these wired headphones offer a solid performance that can rival more expensive wireless models. A reputable brand like Logitech can also be a safe bet if you care about quality and durability, as cheaper models on the market can have glaring flaws like driver mismatches and faulty frames. These headphones have a good mic performance, so your voice is easily understood when you're gaming with friends. Their lightweight, comfortable fit is suitable for long gaming sessions as well.
Their sound profile is a bit light on bass, which isn't ideal for action-packed games, but you can customize it with a graphic EQ and presets in the companion app. Their wired USΒ dongle provides a low latency connection and works with PlayStation consoles, but it's not compatible with Xbox. You can still use the headphones with these consoles if you plug them into a controller, but it'll mean you can't use the features, like the EQ, in the companion app.
The best open-back gaming headset we've tested is the Drop + Sennheiser PC38X. These wired headphones are around the same price as the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7X Wireless, but you might prefer them if you like your game audio to be as immersive as possible. Their open design helps them create a soundstage that seems wider and more spacious than the closed-back options on this list. While they lack a bit of low-bass, they have a well-balanced sound profile suitable for action-packed games or dialogue-heavy cutscenes. However, they aren't ideal for use in a noisy or shared space since they don't block out ambient sound and leak a lot of audio.
They're well-built, have a comfortable fit, and come with a choice of microfiber or velour ear cup padding. They also have a boom mic that makes your voice sound natural and full-bodied during multiplayer games. Because of their wired design, they work with most consoles, and you don't need to worry about latency. That said, unlike headphones like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro, they don't come with a dock that gives you access to controls like sidetone. Their onboard controls are limited, but you can flip up the mic to mute it and adjust the volume with a wheel on one ear cup.
Jan 31, 2023: Made minor updates to the text and checked that the products are in stock.
Dec 21, 2022: Removed the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019 and the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019 because users have reported an issue with updating the headphones' firmware via the Astro Command Center software. Added the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7X Wireless as the 'Best Mid-Range' pick and the Drop + Sennheiser PC38X as the 'Best Open-Back Gaming Headset'.
Oct 28, 2022: Added the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7X Wireless as the 'Best Mid-Range Gaming Headset'. Moved the Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless to Notable Mentions. Switched the Logitech G433 Gaming Ηeadset for the Logitech G432 Gaming Ηeadset as the 'Βest Cheap Gaming Ηeadset'.
Aug 22, 2022: We've overhauled this article to better match user expectations. Added the following headphones to provide a wider range of the market: the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox, AstroA50 Gen 4 2019, SteelSeries Arctis 9X, and Logitech G535 LIGHTSPEED . We've also removed the Razer Kaira Pro Wireless for Xbox, the SteelSeries Arctis 1, and the SteelSeries Arctis 7X.
Jul 11, 2022: Replaced the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019 with the ΗyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless as the 'Best Gaming Headset' and the Logitech G432 with the Logitech G433 as the 'Best Budget Gaming Headset'. Added the SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless as the 'Best Multi-Console Gaming Headset' and the Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless as the 'Most Versatile Gaming Headset'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our headphones reviews, sorted by their wireless gaming performance. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you don't care about having a microphone or wireless features.